Best 1.5% Cash Back Credit Cards (Ranked & Compared)

Credit card rewards were first introduced in 1984 with the Diner’s Club card. In the 1990s Discover and other issuers began offering cash back rewards, with 1% cash back becoming the industry standard. Today, credit cards that pay 1.5% cash back have become the new minimum standard.

They are ideal for those wanting a rewards card for everyday spending. These cards can also be part of a larger reward strategy using cards that pay even higher rewards in select categories. What follows is a list of the best 1.5% cash back cards currently available.

Summary of the Best 1.5% Cash Back Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®—Editor’s Choice

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers cardholders 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Unlike the other cards in this list, however, cardholders can also earn bonus cash back in several categories.

New cardholders can also earn a higher signup bonus than offered by most of the cards on the list. It has a 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%. There’s also no annual fee. Finally, note that rewards can be redeemed for cash or Chase Ultimate Rewards points. As points, they can be transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® to take advantage of the bonuses those cards offer when you redeem points for travel.

It makes the top of our list because it generates the most cash back for the most consumers.

Rewards:

1.5% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
3% cash back
Drugstores
Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
3% cash back
Dining
Earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
5% cash back
Travel
5% cash back on all travel purchased through Chase Travel(SM)
  • Welcome Bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR: Get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, your rate will be 20.49% - 29.24% variable, depending on creditworthiness.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved03/20/2023
785
Experian
$5,000
Approved07/18/2023
765
Experian
$12,500
Approved07/18/2023
773
TransUnion
$12,500
Approved07/18/2023
785
Equifax
$12,500
Approved09/06/2023
754
Experian
$9,000
Approved09/08/2023
740
Equifax
$15,000
Denied09/05/2023
738
Experian
---
Denied09/05/2023
740
Equifax
---
Denied09/05/2023
750
TransUnion
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Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card 

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, another 1.5% cash back card offers several redemption options. When the time comes to redeem your rewards, you can do so by applying them to be statement credits, or Capital One can send you a check. The card comes with a signup bonus and a 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. There is no annual fee. It’s designed for those with good to excellent credit.

Rewards:

1.5% cash back
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases
5% cash back
Hotels
Earn 5% cash back on hotels booked through Capital One Travel
5% cash back
Rental Cars
Earn 5% cash back on car rentals booked through Capital One Travel
  • Welcome Bonus:  One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR: Get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, your rate will be 19.99% - 29.99% variable, depending on creditworthiness.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved10/15/2023
780
Not Provided
---
Approved01/15/2024
650
Not Provided
$2,000
Approved10/01/2023
700
Not Provided
$1,000
Denied04/01/2023
750
Not Provided
---
Denied06/30/2023
768
Not Provided
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Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card 

Designed for those with fair credit, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card pays 1.5% cash back on everyday purchases. As such, it’s one of the best credit cards for those with scores between 650 to 700

The card does charge an annual fee, but Capital One will consider new accounts for a credit limit increase in as little as six months. It offers no signup bonus and a high APR, but it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. The card also comes with 0% Fraud Liability, and you can monitor your credit with the CreditWise app (which is free).

Rewards:

1.5% cash back
All eligible purchases
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
5% cash back
Hotels
Earn 5% cash back on hotels booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
5% cash back
Rental Cars
Earn 5% cash back on rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
  • Welcome Bonus: N/A
  • 0% Intro APR: None
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved06/01/2023
621
Not Provided
$2,000

American Express Cash Magnet® Card—Best Amex Option

The American Express Cash Magnet® Card offers its holders 1.5% cash back on purchases. The cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars, which are redeemable as statement credits. It also includes 0% intro APR for the first 15 months months and a welcome offer. The card has no annual fee and is designed for those with good to excellent credit.

Rewards:

1.5% cash back
All eligible purchases
Earn 1.5% on all eligible purchases
  • Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive the $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • 0% Intro APR: Get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months months. After that, your rate will be 19.24% to 29.99% variable, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved09/20/2023
776
Experian
$33,000
Approved01/10/2023
756
Experian
$1,000
Approved01/10/2023
760
Equifax
$1,000
Approved01/10/2023
765
TransUnion
$1,000
Approved01/23/2024
612
Not Provided
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Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card is not a true 1.5% cash back card. Cardholders earn 1.5 points per dollar spent. The points, however, are only worth $0.006 each if redeemed for cash. So why did it make our list? Three reasons.

First, points are worth the industry standard of $0.01 when redeemed for credit against travel or dining charged to the card. For those who spend in these categories enough to use all of the points, the fact that cash redemptions payout at a lower rate becomes irrelevant.

Second, and related to the first point, it has a healthy signup bonus. It’s higher than most other cards on the list.

Finally, for those who qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, the card exceeds the 1.5% rewards rate. With Platinum Preferred rewards, the rate goes up to 2.62%. Keep in mind, however, that you need $100,000 at Bank of America or Merrill Edge and a Bank of America checking account to qualify for this top-tier rate.

Rewards:

1.5x points
All eligible purchases
Get unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases
  • Signup Bonus: Get 25,000 bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days the account is open.
  • 0% Intro APR: Get 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account. 
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved02/17/2021
765
Experian
$18,000
Approved03/27/2020
759
TransUnion
$8,000


Discover It® Miles Card

I have fond memories of carrying the Discover More Card back in the day. Rebranded Discover it, the Miles version is really a 1.5% cash back card. Cardholders earn miles, but they are redeemable for cash, to pay your Discover bill, or as a statement credit on travel purchases. The only reason to think of it as a travel card is that the miles can wipe out travel purchases going back 180 days. As Discover’s terms and conditions make clear, however, “Any way you redeem, 1 Mile is the cash equivalent of 1 penny.”

I rank it in the middle of the cards on our list for a few reasons. First, it doesn’t offer a signup bonus. Second, it doesn’t offer elevated rewards for certain purchase categories. Third, the Discover network isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard. On the plus side, however, Discover does match the miles earned at the end of the first year, bringing the reward rate up to 3% for the first 12 months.

Rewards:  

1.5x miles
All eligible purchases
Earn 1.5 miles on every purchase
  • Signup Bonus:
  • 0% Intro APR: Get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, then a variable APR of 17.24% to 28.24%. Terms apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Chase Freedom Rise℠ 

Chase Freedom Rise℠ is a card for students or those new to credit cards. Chase says that having a Chase checking or savings account with at least $250 in it will increase your chances for approval. There is no signup bonus, but you do get a $25 statement credit if you enroll in automatic payments. And if you use the card responsibly, you can be considered for a credit line increase in six months.

Rewards:

1.5% cash back
All eligible purchases
Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Signup Bonus: Earn a $25 statement credit after signing up for automatic payments within the first three months of opening your account. With automatic payments, just pick a date and dollar amount to make sure your Credit Card gets paid on time.
  • 0% Intro APR: None
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved10/31/2023
596
Experian
$500
Approved10/31/2023
670
TransUnion
$500
Approved10/03/2023
718
Equifax
$1,700
Denied06/16/2023
631
TransUnion
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Read our Review

Earning Potential from a 1.5% Cash Back Credit Card

To estimate the earnings potential of each card, we made the following assumptions:

  • $3,000 was charged to the card each month
  • $300 of this amount was on travel purchased through Chase
  • $250 of this amount was on dining, including delivery and takeout
  • $100 of this amount was at drugstores
  • $1,000 of this amount was paid using a digital wallet (Apple Pay, for example)
  • Points or miles were redeemed for the highest value

The 1 Year column includes any signup bonuses or rewards matches. The 3-year column represents a cumulative total of the first three years. We also subtract any annual fee from these results.

Credit Card1 Year3 Years
Chase Freedom Unlimited®$929$2,387
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card$690$1,770
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card$501$1,503
American Express Cash Magnet® Card$690$1,770
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card$790$1,870
Discover It® Miles Card$1,080$2,160
Chase Freedom Rise℠$540$1,620

Keep in mind that the above estimates make assumptions that may not apply to your specific circumstances. For example, you may charge more or less to the card, spend different amounts in different categories, or fail to spend enough to earn a signup bonus. The numbers do, however, provide a reasonable comparison between the 1.5% cash back cards on our list.

Chase tops our list with the most cash back rewards given the assumptions we made. Keep in mind that if paired with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, rewards could be even higher. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® generates Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to other cards. When transferred to either the Preferred or Reserve card, you’ll receive a 25% or 50% bonus if you redeem the points for travel purchased through Chase. We did not factor these bonuses into our rewards calculations.

How to Choose a 1.5% Cash Back Card

The cash back rewards are the most important factor. There are, however, other factors to consider when choosing the best option. Here are some factors to keep in mind.

Elevated Reward Categories

While all the cards pay the same base rate, some pay more than 1.5% in certain select categories. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a good example of this, which is why it’s our top choice.

Signup Bonus

Most of the cards on the list pay $150 after the spending requirement is satisfied. The majority of cards require you to spend $500 in the first 3 months, although some (American Express Cash Magnet® Card) require a $1,000 spend. The best options pay a higher signup bonus, as much as $200 (Chase Freedom Unlimited®).

0% APR

Virtually all of the cards on the list offer a 0% introductory APR on purchases, balance transfers, or both. It’s important to focus on how long the introductory rate lasts (12 to 15 months in most cases). For balance transfers, make sure to understand the fees that you’ll incur (typically 3% of the amount transferred).

Annual Fee

Most 1.5% cash back cards don’t charge an annual fee. As a result, these are great options for an everyday card, perhaps in conjunction with a travel rewards card.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you plan to travel outside the U.S., consider whether the credit card charges foreign transaction fees. These can be as high as 2.7% or more of the amount of the purchase. Some of the cards on the list do not charge this fee.

Final Thoughts

Earning a minimum of 1.5% on all your purchases isn’t bad. We also like that the cards in this list either have no annual fee or a very low annual fee. Most of these cards are good companion cards to others that offer elevated cash back on certain categories. Or, if you only want to carry one credit card, these can work. But, if you want to earn more cash back on all your purchases, check out our list of credit cards that offer an even higher 2% cash back on all purchases.